Want the latest from prominent Western Australian scientists and opinion leaders?

Check out these opinion pieces, covering local and international scientific issues and topics, aiming to facilitate discussion and debate about science in Western Australia.

By Michael Hopkin, Editor at The Conversation

Want a single word to sum up environmental affairs in 2014? Let’s go with “heated”. The year began with the realisation that 2013 was Australia’s hottest ever (and yes, it’s because of us), and ended with the knowledge that the world has probably just lived through the hottest ever measured globally.

By David Coward, ARC future fellow; Professor at University of Western Australia

Our understanding of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) – flashes of gamma rays from explosions in distant galaxies – since they were discovered more than 50 years ago may not be as solid as first thought.

In our final Perspective for 2014 ECU's Donell Holloway considers the growing trend of parents who use their touchscreen devices to entertain their young children and how this practice impacts on the child.

By Peter Grace, Professor of Global Change at Queensland University of Technology and Louise Barton, Research Associate Professor, School of Earth and Environment at University of Western Australia

When we talk about greenhouse gases we usually talk about carbon dioxide. When media reports depict climate change, we invariably see the cooling towers of a coal power station.

By Amanda Lambros, Lecturer of Evidence Informed Health Practice, Relationships & Grief & Loss Counsellor at Curtin University

Health and social workers often choose their profession because they want to help people. But seeing trauma and suffering on a regular basis can have a deep impact on these workers.

This week Edith Cowan University's Trevor Cullen considers the media's role in spreading the word about diseases, with a focus on the threat posed by Ebola.

By Jonathan Foster, Curtin Senior Fellow, Professor and Clinical Neuropsychologist at Curtin University

As their children submit themselves to the ordeal of all-important end-of-year exams, parents of high school and university students may be wondering what they can do to help. One thing they ought to consider in particular is diet and its potential impact on academic outcomes.

By Ori Gudes, research fellow at Curtin University and Sanjoti Parekh, research fellow at Griffith University

Refugees settling in Australia constantly face new challenges. They have to re-adjust to new income levels, cultural practices and language. They also face a new food environment, where many traditional foods aren’t available and Western foods and preparation styles seem strange or unfamiliar.

By Jessica Meeuwig, Professor and Director, Centre for Marine Futures at University of Western Australia

Top scientists, senior government managers, industry representatives, conservationists and even some nations’ presidents are currently in Sydney for the World Parks Congress. This major international meeting happens only once a decade, and provides a critical opportunity to share the latest scientific knowledge and management of protected areas, both land-based and marine. It is also a time for assessing progress and reviewing targets that drive the world’s conservation reserves.

This week the UWA Oceans Institute's Katherine Cure considers the treasure trove of endemic reef fish in WA's coastal waters and ways to conserve these populations.

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